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Explosion interrupts work at oilsands site, but all workers are safe

A highway loops around the southeast end of Mildred Lake at a Syncrude facility as seen from a helicopter tour of the oil sands near Fort McMurray, Alta., on July 10, 2012. Ryan Bartlett, of the Alberta Energy Regulator, says an explosion early morning on Saturday, August 29, 2015 has interrupted operations at the Syncrude Mildred Lake site.
Image Credit: THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh
August 29, 2015 - 4:30 PM

FORT MCMURRAY, Alta. - An explosion at a Syncrude oilsands processing site near Fort McMurray has interrupted operations at the facility.

Ryan Bartlett with the Alberta Energy Regulator says the blast happened early Saturday morning at Syncrude's Mildred Lake site.

Bartlett says in an email that the company reports that all workers are safe, no product has been released and no offsite odours have been detected.

Syncrude spokesman Will Gibson says a fire broke out at the Mildred Lake Base Plant's upgrading complex and was extinguished by Syncrude firefighters.

Gibson says there's no word on what caused the incident, nor is there an estimate on how much damage has been done.

He says only Syncrude employees are being allowed onto the base plant site on Saturday, and the company is asking its contractors to be patient while it responds to the incident.

"Part of that response will be a thorough investigation and we will release further information when it's available. The safety of the people at our site is our top priority," Gibson said.

Bartlett said in his email that there have been no impacts to wildlife or water bodies.

Gibson said air quality at the site is monitored carefully and that there haven't been any concerns.

He said operations have been affected, but any information on whether there will be an impact to the facility's output would come from Syncrude's owners.

"It's too soon to tell how this is going to impact our production," Gibson said. "Other parts of our operation are continuing. It's a very big site up here."

News from © The Canadian Press, 2015
The Canadian Press

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